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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Nov 9, 2008 7:44pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Good Copyright Research Methods

You are correct. The above research methods relate to US films.

There was a process of copyright restoration for international films that is effective 1996 related to the Uraguay Round Agreements Act. This is essentially a friendly gesture from USA to the Berne countries and to protect their own copyrights internationally.

There are just as many nuances to URAA legislation as there are to any other piece of copyright legislation. These are the most important factors to take into account when researching an international film:

1) Was the film released in the USA within 30 days of its international premiere? If it was shown in USA within 30 days it is considered a US film for copyright purposes, regardless of origin, language or the nationality of the people who made it. A lot of Alexander Korda's films fall into this category as he usually had his London and NY premieres within a week or two of each other.

2) Was the film PD in its home country (regardless of it's home status now) at 1 Jan 1996? A good example of this is that British films where under a flat 50 year copyright until 1998 when legislation was passed giving life + 70 to a number of authorial rights in film. If a British film made and released before 31 Decemeber 1945 was PD in the US on 1 Jan 1996 it is not covered by GATT/URAA. The British Hitchcock movies, a lot of Russian, Japanese, Australian and Chinese films fall into this category.

The other main factor to take into account was how the film was licensed. Often foreign films were purchased by American companies and augmented with scenes with American "stars" and a new English soundtrack. These hybrids are generally treated as new works using licensed copyright material. If they were released without application of US copyright formalities they may still be PD and not covered by GATT/URAA.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2008-11-10 03:44:31

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Poster: DaveyP Date: Aug 22, 2009 12:50am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Good Copyright Research Methods

Not sure if I'm mis-reading your post, but I think you're stating that Hitchcock's British films were PD on 01/Jan/1986 in the UK? If so, I believe that's incorrect -- the films (which had previously been PD) were brought back under copyright protection in the UK in 1995 as part of the UKs adoption of the European Union Directive 93/98/EEC.

Also, the USCO web site has the "Notice of Intent to Enforce a Restored Copyright" records for the following films:

Carlton Film Distributors, Ltd - Downhill, The Lodger, The Lady Vanishes, The Man Who Knew Too Much, Sabotage, Secret Agent, The 39 Steps, Young and Innocent

UGC UK - Blackmail, Champagne, Elstree Calling, Juno and the Paycock, The Manxman, Murder!, Number Seventeen, Rich and Strange, The Ring, The Skin Game

The relevant USCO Federal Registers to check are:

1) August 22, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 163, Pages 44841-44854)

2) January 30, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 20, Pages 5141-5216)

The US rights for The Pleasure Garden and Jamaica Inn appear to be held by the Estate of Raymond Rohauer, and Warner Bros seem to hold the (distribution?) rights for The Farmer's Wife.

Although there have been some officially licensed DVD releases of Hitchcock's British films (e.g. from Criterion), there are still a lot of DVD releases out there in the US from "reliance party" companies who have chosen to ignore the NIEs.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Aug 22, 2009 5:07am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Good Copyright Research Methods

The transitional savings within the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act still contain provisions that hold all films protected under the 1956 Copyright Act (which is films published between 1 July 1957 and 31 December 1988 inclusive and films registered under the the 1927 and following "Cinematograph Films Acts") copyright terms at 50 years. This continues to be in force as it was not repealed by the ammendments that were made in 1995 in line with the EU directive.

The key section related to the copyright term for films published before the commencement of the CDPA is found in Schedule 1. 12.2.(e):

12 (1) The following provisions have effect with respect to the duration of copyright in existing works. The question which provision applies to a work shall be determined by reference to the facts immediately before commencement; and expressions used in this paragraph which were defined for the purposes of the 1956 Act have the same meaning as in that Act.

(2) Copyright in the following descriptions of work continues to subsist until the date on which it would have expired under the 1956 Act -

(a) literary, dramatic or musical works in relation to which the period of 50 years mentioned in the proviso to section 2(3) of the 1956 Act (duration of copyright in works made available to the public after the death of the author) has begun to run;

(b) engravings in relation to which the period of 50 years mentioned in the proviso to section 3(4) of the 1956 Act (duration of copyright in works published after the death of the author) has begun to run;

(c) published photographs and photographs taken before 1st June 1957;

(d) published sound recordings and sound recordings made before 1st June 1957;

(e) published films and films falling within section 13(3)(a) of the 1956 Act (films registered under former enactments relating to registration of films).

This effectively makes the NIEs/restorations for most of the British Hitchcock films invalid.

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-08-22 12:07:30